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By Charlie McCulloh

As we "get our blue suit" on, regularly,  and portray a honored and hard fighting Federal Unit....I personally feel we should do the best portrayal possible. That means RESEARCH. These books will allow you to glimpse the daily life of the Soldiers who saved the Union (or stole your Great-Great-Great Grandmothers silverware, whichever the case may be). The mundane, the funny, the sad and the terrifying life that was the existence of the Union Soldier. Anyone who has military service will recognize many of the same experiences...for after all, the life of the foot soldier has changed little since the time of Rome. Only now we have faster and more efficient means of killing.

If we honor the Union Veteran completely, then we must know him. These books will help you understand him. I am sure that many of you have read most....if not all of these books, for you would not be a reenactor if you did not know the meaning and relationship of the past to the unwinding thread of the present. I have read all these books and I recommend them without reservation.

The Life of Billy Yank

By Bell I. Wiley

Still the benchmark after 30 years.....if you only read one, read this one.

Soldiers Blue and Gray

By James I. Robertson

Soldiering-The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull

By R. C. Bull

Grandpa's Gone-The Adventures of Daniel Buchwalter in the Western Army 1862-1865

Edited By Jerry Frey

How Soldiers Were Made

By Benjamin F. Scribner

The Iron Brigade

By Alan T. Nolan

One of the best Brigade histories I have ever read.

Marching Through Georgia

By Lee Kennet

Army Life of an Illinois Soldier

By Charles W. Willis

Giants In the Cornfield-The 27th Indiana Infantry

By Wilber D. Jones

An outstanding look at a hard fighting regiment.

Hardtack and Coffee

By John Billings


The Story of a Common Soldier

By Leander Stillwell

Both of these are considered some of the best first hand accounts by veterans.

All For the Union-The Civil War Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Edited By Robert Hunt Rhodes

The Last Full Measure-The Life and Death of the 1st Minnesota Volunteers

By Richard Moe

For Country, Cause and Leader-The Civil War Journal of Charles B. Haydon

Edited By Stephan W. Sears

Civil War Soldiers

By Reid Mitchell

Any of the Time/Life Voices Of The Civil War series.

They are all outstanding and contain only first hand accounts from primary sources.

For period photos that show the life of the common soldier see:

Civil War Times Illustrated's Photographic History of the Civil War

Two volume set.

Edited by W. C. Davis

For a look at the arms and equipment of the Union Soldier see:

Echoes of Glory-Arms and Equipment of the Union

Time/life Books

Last but not least.....

Go back and read Stephan Cranes

The Red Badge Of Courage

These books should provide a solid foundation for understanding the everyday life of the Union Veterans we portray.